Unique Things to Do in Knoxville: Historic Mansions & Museums
Posted by: Crowne Plaza Knoxville Downtown University
Intriguing Things to Do in Knoxville for History Lovers
Before Knoxville became the epicenter of outdoor adventures, gastronomy, and craft beer that it is today – it was a rough-and-tumble log fort on the wild Tennessee frontier. A pioneer spirit still infuses the city, and you can feel the stories of the past alive on every corner. Explore the frontier fort that started it all and learn how to cook on an open-fire hearth. Tour Civil War-era mansions with amazing collections of Victorian furnishings and early American artifacts. See manicured Italian gardens and working blacksmith shops. From award-winning exhibits to stately mansions and museums, discover captivating historic sites and things to do in Knoxville.
East Tennessee History Center: Award-Winning, Interactive Museum
A great place to start your historic explorations of Knoxville, the East Tennessee History Center is an award-winning museum that's right on Gay Street in the heart of the city. Its collection of 13,000 artifacts includes decorative arts, Civil War items, and historic textiles. Exciting interactive exhibits bring visitors into the rich stories of the past, especially in the signature attraction: Voices of the Land – The People of East Tennessee. Spanning 300 years of history, the museum is also home to a top-notch genealogical research library.
James White's Fort: Experience Life on the Tennessee Frontier
Knoxville was first settled in 1786 by the Revolutionary War officer James White, who had been granted 1,000 acres of land near the mouth of First Creek. He built a log cabin there that became the center of what is now known as White's Fort, a collection of fortified structures surrounded by a stockade fence. Today the reconstructed fort still stands near its original location on a bluff near downtown, and the fort attraction includes seven log cabins from the era plus the surrounding timber wall. White's Fort gives a unique insight into life for early pioneers on the Tennessee Frontier. It's furnished with original artifacts that were essential for survival, and the fort also hosts hands-on events throughout the year where you can experience hearth cooking, blacksmithing, and wool spinning.
Crescent Bend House & Gardens: Historic Farm & Mansion
Perched on a bend of the Tennessee River, this 1834 home (also known as the Armstrong-Lockett House) was once the centerpiece of a working farm. Today guests flock to the site to see its five lavish outdoor fountains and three-acre, manicured Italianate garden with terraces that overlook the river. There's also an exquisite collection of antique furnishings that date back to the 1640s. Special events include beautiful formal teas, and tours of the mansion's interior and gardens are available most days. It's easy to see why it's one of the most popular places in Knoxville to get married.
Museum of Appalachia: Pioneer Mountain Farm Village
Located about 20 miles north of the city right off Interstate 75, this living history museum is set in the early 20th century period of the Appalachian region. A Smithsonian Affiliate, it gives voice to the often misunderstood Appalachian people with a recreated pioneer community. Spread across 65 picturesque acres, the Museum of Appalachia features over three dozen log cabins plus barns, churches, gardens, and schools. See farm animals and explore a large collection of regional artifacts, from folk art and textiles to musical instruments.
Blount Mansion: Former Capitol Building with History Exhibits & Art Gallery
Just a few blocks away from the East Tennessee History Center is Blount Mansion, the 1792 home of William Blount, Governor of the Southwest Territory and signer of the U.S. Constitution. It was also the capitol of the Territory and is where the Tennessee State Constitution was drafted. With a wood frame and wood siding, the Blount Mansion was one of the first home in Tennessee that was not a log cabin.
Mabry-Hazen House Museum: Stately Victorian Mansion with Stunning Views
Knoxville was torn in half during the Civil War, with some citizens on the Union side and some on the Confederate side. No place exemplifies this split more than the Mabry-Hazen House Museum, a Victorian mansion that served as headquarters for both sides during the war. Built in 1858 and perched on top of a hill, the house lords over an estate of five acres that is also the site of the Civil War Bethel Cemetery. Inside, you can see a dazzling array of thousands of Civil War-era antiques and artifacts including silver, crystal, china, and furniture. Home to three generations of the same family, the Mabry-Hazen House Museum offers spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee River, and Knoxville.
Relax in a Luxuriously Comfort: An Oasis of Quiet Sophistication
Put yourself in the heart of Knoxville near the University of Tennessee at our stylish hotel, Crowne Plaza Knoxville Downtown University. Tasteful and serene, our beautiful retreat offers an inspiring combination of plush rooms, upscale amenities, and impeccable service. Enjoy forward-thinking American cuisine at Mahogany's restaurant and share cocktails at The Library lounge. Moments from Market Square and Gay Street, our convenient hotel is ideally situated to enjoy all the top attractions and things to do in Knoxville. Experience travel like never before and connect with the true spirit of Eastern Tennessee through its storied past and dynamic present.